By NAN News Editor
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Mon. Aug. 20, 2018: A 51-year-old Florida man will spend the next 17 plus years of his life in jail after pleading guilty to travelling to the Caribbean for sex with children.
Theodore William Symonds, 51, of Wesley Chapel, Florida, was recently sentenced to more than 17 years in prison and 30 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to traveling to the Dominican Republic for engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors.
According to court documents, Symonds travelled frequently between the United States and the Dominican Republic including a trip on March 20, 2017.
He was arrested March 23, 2017 by local Dominican authorities for crimes related to the sexual abuse of children. He was arrested in a condominium in Sosua in the company of a 13-year old girl. DR police has said that one of his alleged victims was pregnant and an abortion was carried out in exchange for the repair of the child mother’s home to avoid being reported to authorities.
A Puerto Plata court ordered three months preventive custody for Symonds. Prosecutors there also accused Symonds of making pornographic videos of minors that he then sold.
The US sentencing is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Miami and the Dominican Republic. HSI began investigating him shortly thereafter and uncovered proof of Symonds’ sexual abuse of children, both in person and using the internet.
“This sentence should send a powerful message to child predators who believe that they can evade law enforcement by using international travel to engage in this type of reprehensible behavior,” said Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Miami. “Sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime that will never be tolerated. HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners around the world so that sexual predators are always brought to justice.”
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.